ESBs, acquisitions, and Java EE topped SOA news in 2006

ZDNet Blogging colleague Dana Gardner just surfaced Michael Meehan's top eight picks for SOA  and Web services stories of 2006.Mike does a great job of spotting the most important news shaping the SOA world, starting with number eight here and wrapping up the top four here.

ZDNet Blogging colleague Dana Gardner just surfaced Michael Meehan's top eight picks for SOA  and Web services stories of 2006.

Mike does a great job of spotting the most important news shaping the SOA world, starting with number eight here and wrapping up the top four here.

In ascending order, here are Mike's top picks:

8. WS-Policy reached a standards body: In April 2006, WS-Policy was adopted as a standard by the W3C. WS-Policy is seen as a critical element for loosely coupled services.

7. SOA got "agile": SOA has increasingly been seen as the path to agile development, and during 2006, was recognized as such by many market leaders such as Google. 

6. The ESB got reinvented: Over the years, there has been plenty of confusion about the role of enterprise service buses in SOA, but vendors seem pretty excited about the concept, and over the past year, have been able to evolve the ESB far beyond its messaging roots.

5. Eclipse targeted Web services and SOA: Everyone loves the open-source Eclipse IDE, and early in 2006, the Eclipse Foundation promised it was pursuing SOA tooling, and it had a working blueprint for its SOA Tools Project by the end of the summer. SOA tools won't be officially available until next summer

6. SOA proved itself in the corporate trenches: 2006 saw plenty of hype around SOA, but the fact is that many IT shops are SOA-enabling. Top corporate references emerged during 2006, but, as Dana put it, SOA is such a strategic benefit that "some of the best SOA stories out there probably will remain secret."

3. SOA looked for governance: Everyone started talking about "governance" as the way to manage and advance SOA projects, and companies such as IBM and AmberPoint unveiled detailed SOA governance strategies.

2. Large vendors went gaga over SOA specialty vendors: The year 2006 began with Systinet being snapped up by Mercury Interactive, which itself was scooped by HP a few months later. (Many industry observers say HP bought Mercury for its Systinet offerings.) Other acquisitions included Progress Software buying Actional, Red Hat buying JBoss, SOA Software scooping up Blue Titan, BEA Systems buying Flashline, and webMethods acquiring Infravio.

And Mike's top SOA story of 2006 is: 

1. More uncertainty surrounded the Java platform: During 2006, many industry observers began predicting the eventual demise of the Java platform, and "the reality of the new SOA world order is that Java EE 5 needs to prove itself."